Productivity, mass media and alienation

The View from the Hill

Today,as I gazed down at the town from my hilltop, I saw a “man” who had inherited about £120,000 several years ago, and, rather than buy his council flat, he’d blown all the money on foreign holidays (which he couldn’t recall, due to the vast intake of alcohol) and wanted to stay as he always had – unemployed, cared for (mothered) by the state, and permanently drunk.

It’s mildly annoying for tax payers who “keep” him (and his two children) but the greatest victim is himself.

A whole life wasted. The considerable satisfaction of taking responsibility for his own home, and leaving such a home to his children denied in the pursuit of unconsciousness.

I see billions of pounds spent on “professional” sports by “ordinary” folk who really can’t afford to do so. Perhaps the most ludicrous example is Formula 1 (car racing) where all the surviving cars (winners or not) finish back where they started, worn out, having wrecked several sets of tyres in an hour or two.

Thousands drive there to watch them – then drive home again! Millions of people watch it on TV. One fan justified this, aggressively, by pointing out that many more people drive to watch football matches than to car racing. It is unwise to attempt reason when confronted by such hostility, but think about it.

a. Why hostile? Because it threatens to unearth an awareness of the reality of the farce that has been strenuously repressed, for whatever reasons.

b. The logic of his argument: It is okay to do anything, provided you can cite an example of something that is worse. This is exactly the line of reasoning used by the fan of car racing.

By way of contrast, there is a gentleman living near here who bought a new car 27 years ago, and drives it most days. It is in mint condition and gives him immense satisfaction.

What else caught my eye? Misleading adverts for unnecessary junk.

So, away from the madding crowd and unnecessary possessions: I was really glad I didn’t even take my bike out today. The path was cold under the trees, but the field right next to it (not accessible for bikes) was awash with glorious sunshine.

You see, baggage gets in the way. I would have appreciated taking a camera (my otherwise fairly useless mobile phone has the advantage of a fair quality camera that fits in a small pocket!).

So why is the camera different to other consumer goods? Because it PRODUCES something. The whole point of being in a satisfying life is to be creative, however broad the definition. The whole modern day problem of alienation is a symptom of lives that are not productive.

The example of the man who has owned the same car for 27 years is pertinent. He probably was somewhat alienated from it after the first novelty had worn off, but after 27 years of maintenance, he certainly isn’t.


🦉 © Peter Fairbrother @pjforguk 🌄